Snow-capped peaks near Lake Sumner

Image: Dave Quested | ©


Remote high-country lakes, beech-clad mountains, wide rivers and hot springs complete this picturesque landscape, a tramper’s mecca and a safe haven for endangered species.

Place overview


  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Walking and tramping

Find things to do and places to stay Lake Sumner Forest Park

About this place

Nature and conservation


The park is mostly beech forest/tawhai, low forest and shrubland of mountain ribbonwood/houhi (on slips and gullies) and kānuka/mānuka on dry previously burnt areas; subalpine shrubland, alpine snow tussockland; and tussock grassland in the drier east.


At least 10 species of native fish are present in the streams and lakes. Birdlife here includes blue duck/whio, yellowhead/mohua, kea, NZ falcon/kārearea, long tailed bat/pekapeka, yellow crowned parakeet/kākāriki and great spotted kiwi/roroa.

Other features

  • The Upper Hope Ecological Area, which is a representative area of vegetation gradients and park fauna.
  • Lake Marion and Morris Tarn are small lakes surrounded by forest, unusual for Canterbury. They contain no exotic fish. Lake Marion is a Faunistic Reserve under Fisheries Regulations, controlled by DOC, one of only two in the South Island.
  • Numerous geopreservation sites within and near the park; the Sumner lakes area has excellent relic glacial-lake features, Hurunui River hot springs, Hope River hot springs.

History and culture

The area has numerous sites associated with Ngāi Tahu and Pakeha travel to and from the West Coast.

Pakeha sites include Nos 1 and 2 huts, upper Hurunui, Amuri Pass track, Dozies Hut of earth construction near upper Hurunui Gorge, road workers hut at Boyle Lodge (1930s).

Getting there

Lake Sumner Forest Park lies 100 km northwest of Christchurch between the Lewis Pass and Arthur’s Pass National Park.

From Christchurch, take SH1 north, then turn onto SH7 at Waipara. The turn-off from SH7 to Lakes Taylor, Katrine and Sumner is signposted just before the historic Hurunui Hotel.

Another popular entry point is at Windy Point, further along the highway near the Boyle River. 

For access to the Carlyle Hut Route from SH7 permission is required from Glenhope Station, phone +64 3 315 7697

View a map of the access points to tracks in Lake Sumner Forest Park and Lewis Pass.


From Christchurch, Lazerline Coaches run to Nelson, East West Coach Services run to Westport.

Know before you go

NZ Topo50 maps that cover the park include BT22, BT23, BT24, BU21, BU22, BU23, BU24, BV22, BV23.


Rangiora Office
Phone:   +64 3 313 0820
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   32 River Road
Rangiora 7400
Postal Address:   PO Box 349
Rangiora 7440
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